Learn the Particulars of Cat Behavior

Cats have been domesticated for more than 3,000 years. The patterns of domesticated house cats however, are not much different from wild cats. Purr-Fect-Air in Ridgefield, New Jersey, offers some insight into feline activity and why cats behave a certain way.

A Bit Of Cat History

Long before the Egyptians and African wild cats negotiated the original deal with each other of pest control for steady food and shelter, cats were hunting, stalking, and burying their feces in sandy substrate. The current behavior of today's house cats with respect to chasing mice, grabbing ankles, playing with toys, tearing into arms with back claws, and litter box behavior have their origins in those ancient felines. Stalking and hunting behaviors are deeply ingrained and cannot be trained out of your cat.

Orange Cat

Playing to Your Cat's Instincts

As feline parents, we act as surrogate mothers for our cats, and we encourage kitten-like dependency and play behavior that lasts into adulthood. Underneath all that, however, our little bundles of fur are really just wild animals that have become our family members. Over the years, I have often been taken by surprise by my own thoughts when a cat turns the corner and I think "look at that... there's a wild animal living in my house!"

Embracing Your Cat's Nature

There's no doubt that a better understanding of cat behavior will allow you to provide better cat care for your little one. Understanding your cat's point of view and her special needs will help you to better enjoy your companion animal and treat your cat more the way she wants to be treated. This can help both of you to live a more enriched life. Embracing your cat's wild nature is essential. Part of that is to refrain from attempting to inflict a human measurement of punishment on your cat for things she can't control. You can't blame your cat for behaviors like the desire to hunt or attack, or for being choosy about the food she eats, or for not using a less than clean litter box. You can't blame her for going through the processes that lead to mating, including wanting to get out and meet other cats. 

Sleeping Cats Tucked in a Cozy Blanket

What you can do, instead, is play to her instincts and needs in order to create a healthy and cat-friendly environment. When you do so, you'll find that your furry companion will be much better behaved. We highly suggest you set up a cat sanctuary so that your cat has a safe and quiet place to rest and play.

Cat Communication

In the wild, the ancestors of the domestic cat lived a solitary life in northern Africa. They slept, hunted, and ate alone. They covered their tracks so as not to be preyed upon, and they behaved stealthy in order to hunt and catch their food (stalking is not for the loud or clumsy). Their very job is to remain undetected, and when challenged, to either fight off an attacker or escape into hiding. As such, they don't necessarily have a lot of signals to communicate what's going on in a number of social situations.

Nevertheless, they are very sensitive creatures, and communicate in a number of ways including vocalizations, purring, and distinct body language. These aspects of cat behavior are extremely important, since this is how your cat tells you what she wants or doesn't want, whether or not she is content, and how you should treat her.

Carole C. Wilbourn, Cat Therapist

"A cat is a very sensitive animal. How he feels is how he acts. It is therefore very important to know how your cat is feeling. Some cats are very vocal, and although you can't always figure out what they want, you are aware that they do want something. There are other cats who express their feelings primarily through body language, such as a wag of the tail or the ripple of a back. If you are able to decipher your cat's feelings by how he expresses them with his body, you will be in closer touch with what your cat is feeling. I try to help people understand their cats' day-to-day needs, so that person and cat can relate in a way that promotes the emotional and physical health of both. However, many of my cases involve cats who have already developed emotional problems. Emotional problems often trigger medical ones. That's why I feel it is so important to treat the total cat.”

Cat Talk, What Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You

This is an excellent book written by Carole C. Wilbourn, and it will give you a lot of insight into cat behavior and how it relates to overall quality of life for your cat. If you want to better understand cats, we highly recommend you buy the book.

Cat Behavior Tip

Learn to know when your cat is trying to tell you something. Grooming behavior after play or exercise is usually a sign that your cat wants to rest. Time to leave her alone for a while.

Feline Vocalizations

Typically, if you talk to your cat, she'll talk back, at least at some point, with a variety of vocalizations. Of course, some cats rarely talk at all, and others talk much of the time. Some breeds, such as Siamese cats, are generally more talkative than others. Although there are exceptions, adult cats rarely meow at each other the way they meow at us. Meow, purr, roar, and other cat sounds are not only communication for cats, but a source of fascination for people.

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